Every week I write a column called BE YOU for one of the local papers (The Times of Acadiana) – Each week someone different answers the questionnaire – the paper often has to edit them,  so here are all the answers, unedited (the whole truth.) This week – Amy LeBlanc

Amy LeBlanc

Amy teaches speech, broadcasting and fine arts at Breaux Bridge High School. She is one of those amazing women whose effervescent energy is contagious – we need more teachers like her! This is the first BE YOU photo that has been printed in color – there is no way you can put Amy in black and white, it just wouldn’t work. When you meet her, you will know it, and you will come away slightly changed, for the better.

What was your first job?
I had various babysitting jobs growing up, but my first “big girl” job was working as a tour guide in the Joseph Jefferson Home at Rip Van Winkle Gardens. And yes, I do think that place is haunted! Working in that big ole’ house by myself always kinda creeped me out!

Describe a typical day in your life.
I wake up between 5:30-6, (depending on how many times I hit snooze/how well Locke, our 5 month old, slept the night before), pour myself a cup of coffee and get ready for the day. (If I’m lucky, baby boy is still sleeping at this time.) I give goodbye kisses at 7am and head out to Breaux Bridge for work…Once I get to school, it’s non-stop until about 3:15, teaching two sections of speech and one broadcasting class. When I’m at school, my life revolves around the bell…. If I’m lucky, I get about 10 minutes to sit down and eat lunch at my desk, while tweaking my ever-evolving to-do list scribbled on a sticky note….I’m usually home by 4:30-5:00, cook dinner, feed Locke, then if I’m lucky, sit down to have dinner with my husband while having a quick conversation about the highlights/lowlights of our days. Then, we usually try to spend some quality time together as a
family while juggling household chores like cleaning the kitchen, doing laundry and preparing bottles for the next day. Next is my most favorite part of the day: Locke’s bath time!!! Then, I rock him to sleep while singing my own special rendition of “Oh my Darling” as he sings along (I sing it so much that I even recorded it on my phone for days when I’m too tired to sing…), sneak in some Facebook time, catch up on the latest news, watch a little TV with my hubbaboo and try to get myself in bed for 10pm. Annnnnnnnd REPEAT!

What advice would you give the younger you?
Relax!! Don’t sweat the small stuff…. 15 years from now, NO ONE will care that you made a “B” in Mrs. Mary Helen’s Algebra II class.

What event in your life most shaped who you are now?
It’s not really an “event,” but more of an experience…My education, specifically the encouragement I got from teachers along the way, has molded me into the person I am today. I’ve always been intrinsically motivated, but encouragement from teachers helped to mold my self concept and boost my confidence! Teachers from as far back as my first grade teacher to my high school speech and drama teacher to my college professors built me up and motivated me to strive for success, and that affirmation has made me who I am today!

What values do you live by?
Love. Passion. Hard Work Ethic. Optimism. Respect. Gratitude. Compassion.

What do you most appreciate?
Effective communication. Motivational leadership. Follow through. People who just “get it.” A positive attitude. Heartfelt compliments. A home cooked meal that I don’t have to prepare myself.

What is your favorite journey?
My favorite journey is my college education. Both my undergraduate and graduate studies allowed me the rich experience of meeting new people from various walks of life—some of whom are still my best friends today. Getting a higher education also opened my mind to new and different cultures, perspectives and experiences. I am so grateful for that!

Where is your favorite place to be alone?

Sitting at my bathroom vanity getting ready for the day…Also the first five minutes when I walk into my classroom in the morning. Both of these times allow me to center myself and prepare for the day ahead. Oh and I also LOVE some solo “retail therapy!”

What living figure most inspires you?
My five month old baby boy, Locke Stafford LeBlanc! He is the SUNSHINE of our lives! The smile on his face inspires me to be a better me every day!

What was the best advice you were ever given?
“If you think you can, you CAN! If you think you CAN’T, you’re right.” –Mary Kay Ash

What book would you tell everyone to read?
“Oh the Places You’ll Go!” By Dr. Seuss teaches valuable life lessons for children of all ages. I read it to my seniors every year on their last day of high school!

What is the best thing about where you live?
Acadiana is an awesome melting pot…We’ve got fabulous food, toe-tapping music, inspiring art and such a rich culture.

How do you “let the good times roll” ?
I’ve never really been a “party animal,” and with a new baby in the house, my idea of letting the good times roll isn’t as exciting as I’d like to portray…These days, a good night involves a glass of Skinny Girl Pina Colada and good conversation with my husband…And if we’re really lucky, a date night of dinner and a movie or a play…. I also enjoy an evening spent catching up with old friends.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was younger, I always told people that I wanted to be a television talk show host! That still might happen, but in the meantime, I’ve narrowed it down to three other options: 1- A motivational speaker (Look out, Aileen!) 2- A Professional Shopper/Fashion Consultant 3- A Real Housewife of Youngsville!

What is your motto?
Do it BIG or don’t do it at all!!!

How would you like to be remembered?
I would like to be remembered as effervescent ray of sunshine in the lives of people I came into contact with during my time on earth.

What do you say to yourself when you doubt yourself?
“Fake it ‘til you make it!” I tell my students to do this when they are nervous about giving a speech in class and are doubtful about their abilities…This advice applies to life as well…Even if you aren’t 100% confident in your ability to do something, having a positive attitude and learning to roll with the punches will get you a long way! Don’t call attention to your weaknesses!

What three things are vital to BEing YOU?
Big Hair. Bright Smile. Bold Personality.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“Boo,” “Hey Boo,” “TOTALLY,” “Aggggggg,” “Redonkulous” and “Long story short…….” (even though I usually just end up adding to the story and NEVER really cut straight to the point…right, Boo?)

What is your favorite word?
Charisma…I’ve always been fascinated with the concept of personal magnetism and inspirational leadership, so much so that I studied it for my Master’s thesis.

What do you collect?
Clothes!!! Lots and Lots of CLOTHES! I also keep positive notes from students, colleagues, friends and family….I call it my “SMILE FILE,” and pull it out for a quick pick me up when I’m feeling down.

What food could you live on for a month?
Greek!!! I love me some hummus, feta salad and chicken shawarma!!!!!!!

What would you change about yourself?
Sometimes, I wish I was more chilled out, laid back and easy going…. but then again, if I changed that, I TOTALLY wouldn’t BE me, so I guess I wouldn’t changed anything…

What literary, movie or cartoon character do you most identify with?
Fancy Nancy! I share her larger than life personality, extravagant style and LOVE for all things fancy, but I also relate to her because at the end of every book, she always discovers what’s truly important in life.

Describe yourself in five words.
Bubbly. Passionate. Dramatic. Creative. Competitive.

What is your idea of happiness?
Having everything scratched off of my to-do list, a clean house, clean sheets and spending quality time with my husband, sweet baby boy and diva dog.

What is your favorite movie?
Big Fish. I always felt connected to the “larger than life” stories in that movie!

What music defines who you are?
90s Booty Bouncin’ hits!!!!!!!! Some of my all time faves are “Junk in the Trunk” by Blaque, “Supersonic” by Salt N Peppa and “My Boo” by Ghost Town DJs!

What do you most regret?
Not taking time to stop and smell the roses more often. I tend to get caught up in the everyday routine of life and sometimes forget to stop and soak it all up….Becoming a mom has made this more of a challenge, but at the same time, taught me that it needs to be more of a priority.

What question do you wish I’d asked?
What made you become a teacher?

What would the answer be?
After getting a bachelor’s and master’s degree in communication (broadcasting and public relations, respectively), an opportunity to teach high school speech and broadcasting literally fell in my lap! I took it as a sign from above telling me what I was meant to do in life, and I’ve never looked back! I absolutely love my job and sharing my passion for communicating with students. It is a real joy to watch students blossom into confident communicators in my class. Don’t get me wrong, it can be frustrating at times dealing with the bureaucratic red tape that is our educational system (like for example, the new teacher evaluation system….blah!!!), but I always try to stay focused on the big picture. One of my most favorite quotes as it relates to teaching is, “Education is not the filing of a pail, but the lighting of a FIRE!” by William Butler Yeats. I have a responsibility
as a teacher to LIGHT a FIRE in my students and INSPIRE them to be better communicators….and hopefully along the way, become better PEOPLE!